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Blockchain is considered as one of the most noteworthy developments in the field of technology over the recent years. Blockchain definitely has the ability to change the way we view big data. Blockchain promises to offer security and data quality, as a primary advantage over many others that are yet to be explored, while taking stalk about the impact Blockchain has on big data. Currently, Blockchain is synonymous to Bitcoin and other similar cryptocurrencies, however, to put it simply, Blockchain as a technology, has the competence to handle and store any kind of information that can be digitized.
Blockchain is essentially a distributed database system, which acts as an ‘open ledger’ that stores and manages any transactions. Each recorded transaction is called a ‘Block’ which gives information like the time of the transaction, along with the link to the previous block, hence information once fed into the Blockchain cannot be changed. The technology also becomes secure simply by design, as each transaction is recorded over multiple distributed database systems. So the information becomes immortal in time till the system exists, where any alterations are not possible. For that reason, it is considered that Blockchain is immutable.
Big Data Challenges
Due to the rise in storage options like cloud computing, it has become easier for companies to store colossal amounts of data which is collected and received from many sources like the internet, corporate systems, online unstructured sources etc…, however storing data does not assure you that the data is correct. Due to genuine human errors, or intentionally data can be tampered. It is no surprise then that executives have trust issues with the quality of data.
Blockchain and Big Data
Blockchain is always associated with bitcoin in conversations, hence its connection with big data might seem vague. Technically Blockchain is simply a database but with features like, Decentralisation as it is not owned by one entity but has shared control, it is Immutable and has a trail of previous link in the block, lastly it has Native Assets and open exchanges in the network.
Blockchain thus takes care of the three most common challenges of big data, Authenticity, Restricted Access which maintain control and quality of data, Monetisation.
If Blockchain is viewed as a simple database, then it can find application in almost any line of business and not only in finance, as it is currently being applied. A good example would be that of Walmart, which is using Blockchain technology to increase food safety, by offering the traceability from its origin to the consumer. Blockchains have great utility when we talk about private data, in the UK talks are already in process with NHS, where they intend to use Blockchain to safely store patient data. This data could be used in the future for research purposes with the knowledge that it is verifiable and authentic.
With Blockchain there is a possibility of Real Time Analytics. Real time fraud detection is a wishful reality for most banking institutions. Blockchain offers a record of every single transaction in their database, hence it serves the opportunity for companies to look for real time patterns if need be.
So far it looks like the benefits and outcomes of Blockchain technology, can be integrated positively across industries. A more evolved database in Blockchain will be the required, perhaps a one that has query knowledge. Therefore, companies that wish to apply big data and Blockchain are finding new tools such as BigChainDB which has added features required for enterprise development.